Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories

So, I know I am the sleep coach in my marriage, but I have to give it up to my husband: he IS the bedtime master. After a long day of being with the kids, I find my energy and patience can be zapped by the end of the day, while my husband gets his second wind. Many times, if bedtime is given to him, it turns into a beautiful work of art. I wish I could say I am responsible for the creation of our girls’ Sachka bedtime stories, but it is my husband who stumbled upon this masterpiece.

When my oldest daughter was about 2, whenever my husband was home (he works long hours typically), he liked to savor those final moments before bedtime, and, in doing so, he would often play soft piano music at bedtime and end the routine with telling my daughter a story about a fictional character he named Sachka (I have no idea…don’t ask, because I truly don’t know). At first, these Sachka stories were silly and catered to the toddler ear: Sachka went to parties with lots of cake; Sachka travelled to outer space; Sachka stumbled upon fairies in her garden. Eventually, after a few of Sachka’s adventures, we both decided Sachka could be used as a sort of bedtime Daniel Tiger: we could use her to teach our child to deal with big feelings, new events, and hard topics!

Low and behold, when Mia was 2, I became pregnant with Zoe, and we were able to begin introducing Sachka’s pregnant mom! In the stories, Sachka dealt with jealousy, confusion, wanting to sit on mommy’s lap but being unable to fit, getting used to not being picked up by mommy so much, and eventually, Mia met Sachka’s sister Reyut (yup…you read that right…). Mia met Sachka’s sister long before Mia’s own sister came into this world, and we used Reyut and Sachka as a way to show Mia that it might be hard to adjust once her baby sister came into the world. We showed Mia that Reyut cried a lot and needed a lot of attention from her mom and dad. We showed Mia how Sachka HELPED Reyut stop crying. We showed Mia how Reyut needed to be held gently and how Sachka knew how dangerous it was to put small objects in Reyut’s mouth. Any potential snag our toddler may come up against once her sister came into the world (whether the snag be physical or emotional), WE HIT ON IT and demonstrated appropriate ways to handle those issues. All with the help of Sachka.

We also used this as a chance to prevent sleep regressions (which can be SO common amongst expecting/new siblings). We transitioned Mia into her toddler bed about 3 months before Zoe arrived, and we, of course, told story after story about Sachka getting her new big girl bed and how she had to stay in her big girl bed and HOW PROUD her parents were went Sachka waited in her bed. We also used the stories to reinforce the power of her Okay to Wake clock and how Sachka waited and waited for it to turn green in the morning (just like Mia waited and waited for hers) and how her parents saw she was such a responsible and big girl to be able to wait for the light!

Our Sachka stories have evolved tremendously, and now that we have Zoe AND Mia (and are expecting a third), Sachka is still coming in handy when dealing with toddler and school-aged issues. We now use Sachka to talk potty training, how to be kind and share with others, why we should give to those who have less than us, not judging other people by the way they look, doing the right thing when no one is looking, and on and on and on…however, we still make sure to throw in the occasional silly Sachka story (I believe last night, Sachka encountered Taco-man or something like that…I believe he flies…so, feel free to also have fun with the stories without there being any moral!), but never miss an opportunity to use your character as a way to instill good values, prevent sleep issues, and help tackle big feelings.

A good guideline to follow:

  • Create a silly and ear catching name for your character

  • Make your character similar in age to your child/someone relatable

  • Introduce their family (make it a similar family dynamic to your own)

    • You can also introduce dolls (Sachka actually has a doll named Matchka…yup…) or pets or fantastical beings

  • Introduce a dilemma (could be something in the future like starting a new school, or could be something they are currently struggling with like hitting their sibling)

  • Stop occasionally to ask your child what your character should do, or how another character might feel, etc. Make it a choose-your-own-adventure type story so your child can HELP your character arrive at responsible conclusions

  • Never forget to throw in how proud your character felt of themselves and how proud their family felt of them!

Some good topics to use these stories for:

  • Potty training

    • Being scared to go poop on the potty/pee on the potty

    • Being afraid of using a big potty

    • Frequently pooping or peeing in their pants

  • Waiting for the Ok to Wake light

  • Feeling scared in the middle of the night

  • Starting a new school

  • Learning to share

  • Hitting others

  • Giving to the less fortunate

  • Introducing a new sibling

  • Divorce

  • Spending the night in a new place

    • Travel, grandparents’ house, relative’s house, etc.

  • Learning to use words in place of tantrums

  • Trying new foods

  • Death in the family/death of someone near to your family

  • Biting/hitting

  • Toddler bed transition/staying in bed

  • Making a new friend

  • Feeling left out

  • Dealing with bullies

    AND A MILLION OTHER TODDLER TOPICS! Feel free to be creative and use it for even the most mundane of scenarios!

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